Another (very) big contract for the Rafale, the Dassault fighter long shunned for export.
Egypt announced on Tuesday the purchase of 30 Rafale, for the sum of 3.75 billion euros, plus some 200 million euros for armament with MBDA missiles and Safran Electronics & Defense.
These fighters, which will be delivered between 2024 and 2026, will complete the fleet of 24 Rafale already purchased by Egypt in 2015.
The new contract ensures, between the aircraft manufacturer, missile manufacturers and subcontractors, 7,000 jobs over three years.
A big customer, this country has also bought from France, since 2014, two Mistral amphibious helicopter carriers, a multi-mission frigate and four corvettes.
"For the period 2010-2019, the amount of Egyptian orders amounts to 7.687 billion euros", specifies the Ministry of the Armed Forces.
The fear of Daesh in Egyptian Sinai
Such intense military cooperation, which includes major joint air and sea maneuvers, with the regime of Marshal Al-Sisi, customary of human rights abuses, is it not embarrassing? "We have a strategic partnership with this key country for the preservation of our security interests, playing a crucial role in supplying Europe - as the blockage of the Suez Canal recently showed - and plagued by risks of destabilization ”, one replies to the cabinet of Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces.
Paris and Cairo are allies in the fight against terrorism, both concerned by the growing presence of Daesh in the Egyptian Sinai and in Libya, where the Rafale of the Egyptian air force are operating.
Emmanuel Macron and Al-Sisi also share the same distrust of the Turkish Erdogan, who has not given up on his expansionist policy in the eastern Mediterranean.
In short, Paris sees this proximity to Al-Sissi, who was awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor at the Elysee Palace in December in December, a means of securing "points of support" in this region, more unstable than ever.
Tenders in Finland, Croatia, Switzerland
How was this contract negotiated, on which the secrecy, to which the two parties held, was not lifted until Monday by the investigation site Disclose?
“Such a sale is a political choice.
The minister has been spearheading the negotiations for months, in constant contact with her Egyptian counterpart, General Zaki, ”says Parly's cabinet.
Dassault is leading the discussions on the technical aspects and the price, the State taking back control of the authorizations to equip the aircraft with such or such weaponry.
Read alsoSales of arms: France remains the 3rd largest exporter in the world
Serious downside, Egypt, with precarious finances, will borrow the money for this purchase, Paris being surety for 85% of the total amount. Therein lies the final stage of the contract before its finalization "by the summer", for which a delegation from Cairo has arrived in Paris. "No worries, we never had a bad surprise with the Egyptians, they are not bad payers", reassures the ministry.
Added to sales to India (36), Qatar (36) and Greece (18), this contract brings the number of Rafale exported to 144. This maintains skills and keeps the production lines running, which also supply the French army: 152 aircraft have already been delivered, 40 are expected. Next step ? Florence Parly has announced her intention to prioritize arms sales to our European partners. Dassault believes in its chances in the tenders launched by Finland, Croatia and Switzerland. “Advanced discussions” are also underway with other countries… without the ministry specifying which ones.